Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Our family’s tragic story.

March 17, 2019

On April 24th, 2016 my fiancee was sitting in our living room with our 4 kids while I made dinner. The children were ages 6, 4, 2, & we had brought our newborn daughter home 3 weeks earlier. All of a sudden my fiance started yelling at our 2 year old for jumping on her. She asked me to put her in her room with the baby gate up. After I did this I came back into the room & she asked me to rub her back because she felt weird. Not in pain but tight in her chest and back. She laid on our couch on her knees facing away from me. I took her sports bra and shirt off and began to rub her back. I asked if she needed to go to the hospital but she said no. My 6 year old helped rub her back.

The whole time we were talking, even flirting, and after a few mins she said she felt better and to go get the dinner I had been preparing. Her face was away from me but her voice was normal so I got up and headed towards the kitchen. Then I heard a loud slam. She was on the floor. I tried to pick her up & she was dead wait. I screamed “I am calling 911” in her face. My son stood over us holding her phone. I reached up and dialed 911. They said to start CPR. I was in the military so I knew how to. I immediately began as my son held the phone to my ear. We did this for almost 5 mins. I screamed “where are they?” We lived 6 blocks from the hospital. They said they are on their way.

More time goes by, 2 or 3 mins. I hear the sirens outside. But they keep going. I scream “they just passed us”. They tell me there was a call before mine. 2 more minutes go by. They finally pull up outside. My son and I open our door and yell “over here”, waving our hands over our head. They stay outside. I go back in and continue CPR. They wait another minute or two before entering. Appearently they staged till the police got there. There was no reason for them to think they wouldnt be safe entering our home. It’s been over 10 – 12 mins at least. Again I lived 6 blocks from the hospital. As they enter the house the police push me into my daughter’s room. Mind you I had all 4 kids there as this was happening. They get all of us in the bedroom and I can’t see them load her up and go to the hospital. The police won’t let me leave to go to the hospital at first. They detain me for about 20 mins.

When I am finally allowed to go to the hospital I walk back into a waiting room in the er. Almost directly behind comes the Dr. He says they worked on her for an hour and kept getting a pulse then losing it. She had passed away. It was Spontaneous Corenary Artery Dissection. A disease that affects mostly women over 30 in their 3rd trimester or post partum. Rarely is it fatal. My fiancee was 34 years old and had no symptoms before it happened. She was in excellent health and was supposed to return to work the day after it happened.

I read that the EMT company Topeka uses has a contract with the city & that they are supposed to respond within 6 minutes of a call. I lived 6 blocks away. They easily took double that to get there, drove by the house by accident, waited outside for police to arrive before entering even though there was no sign of anything violent happening, with me & my 6 year old standing on our porch waving our arms and yelling over here. With the ER doctors saying they kept getting a pulse even after all that time passing I question how much better her chances would have been if they had gotten there in the 6 mins their contract calls for. This all happened on a Sunday night at around 8:30pm.